As long as you’re breathing, we dare you not to tap your toes while watching Joyful Noise. The movie, which brings together the oddest couple in the history of music: Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton, is about an economically challenged small town and its beloved Divinity Church Choir. Director Todd Graff directs his own screenplay and though overly sweet at times, the exhilarating choir performances elevate the film above mediocre schmaltz.
Perennial runner up in the National Joyful Noise Competition, the choir, like their town, needs a win. Infighting between the earnest Choir Director, Vi Rose (Latifah), feisty widow G.G. Sparrow (Parton), and a rigid church pastor threaten the choir’s future and identity. The multi-generational script examines love, rebellion, faith and troubled families. Parton’s adorable and funny, while Latifah’s a hard-working single mother struggling to keep it together. Delightful as teens in love, Keke Palmer and Broadway veteran Jeremy Jordan’s powerful voices electrify the screen in their numbers. The comedy, however, falls flat and the movie slows down when it focuses on secondary characters. It’s the musical performances that center the film and entertain. Watch out for the rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”—we’re pretty sure the King of Pop himself would have loved it.
REEL FASHION: Costume Designer Tom Broecker keeps the looks casual as he dresses his first film following Emmy nominated work in television for 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live.